Job Seekers Allowance

Job Seekers Allowance (JSA)

DWP describe Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) as the main benefit for people of working age who are out of work. JSA may be available if a person is out of work or working less than 16 hours a week on average. To be eligible you must be capable of working, available for work, actively seeking work and below state pension age. JSA may be payable as contribution based, if you have paid or been credited with class 1 National Insurance (NI) contributions in the relevant tax years, or income based, which is based on income and savings if you have not paid enough National Insurance contributions (NICs) and you're on a low income.  Changes were made to the way lone parents claim benefits which resulted in some moving off Income Support (IS) and onto JSA during late 2008 and 2009. The JSA claimant count is not an official measure of unemployment but it is the only measure available for small areas, and at timescales more frequent than quarterly.

From 25th November 2013 some job seekers living in the area served by Inverness Job Centre will claim Universal Credit rather than Job Seekers Allowance. This applies initially to a relatively small group of new claimants with simple circumstances: who are single, do not have responsibility for children, and are not home owners or with high levels of savings and capital. This group of people is often particularly reliant on seasonal employment and it is therefore likely that the numbers of JSA claimants reported here for Highland, and the Wards affected, do not reflect the true level of seasonal increase in unemployment during the winter months. Data on the numbers of Universal Credit claimants is not available at the moment and will be reported once it becomes available. The Inverness Job Centre serves the Inverness area, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey, the southern part of the Black Isle, and parts of Wester Ross.

Figure 1: JSA Claimants (October 2004 to February 2014 )
Graph showing JSA Claims

2.2% of working age people in Highland claim JSA, lower than the averages for Scotland and the United Kingdom (3.4% and 3.1% respectively). Unemployment in Highland is highly seasonal and was above the Scotland and United Kingdom average around the millennium but has fallen steadily since then until beginning to rise in late 2008. Highland's seasonal unemployment makes short term interpretation difficult but the figures from late 2007 to date show that unemployment had been rising, but at a slower rate than in Scotland and the United Kingdom, despite following the usual seasonal fluctuation.

JSA Claimants by Multi-Member Wards ( February 2014 )

There is a wide variation in the number of people in each ward receiving JSA and wards containing deprived areas have over six times as many claimants as less deprived wards. The wards with the highest percentage of people receiving JSA are Wick (4.7%) and Inverness Central (4.2%) while the lowest are Aird and Loch Ness (1%) and Inverness South (0.6%).

Ward No Ward Name All JSA Claimants % of working age population claiming JSA
1 North, West and Central Sutherland 105 2.9
2 Thurso 147 3.2
3 Wick 213 4.9
4 Landward Caithness 187 2.6
5 East Sutherland and Edderton 138 3.0
6 Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh 138 1.9
7 Cromarty Firth 280 3.7
8 Tain and Easter Ross 181 3.2
9 Dingwall and Seaforth 161 2.0
10 Black Isle 58 1.0
11 Eilean a' Cheò 197 3.1
12 Caol and Mallaig 103 2.0
13 Aird and Loch Ness 68 1.0
14 Inverness West 82 1.4
15 Inverness Central 381 4.0
16 Inverness Ness-Side 101 1.6
17 Inverness Millburn 64 1.3
18 Culloden and Ardersier 97 1.3
19 Nairn 122 1.7
20 Inverness South 71 0.7
21 Badenoch and Strathspey 114 1.3
22 Fort William and Ardnamurchan 215 2.9
39 Highland 3,223 2.3
Source: Department for Work and Pensions data from NOMIS

JSA Claimants by Local Authority ( February 2014 )

The highest rates are in North Ayrshire (5.8%) and West Dunbartonshire (5.7%) and the lowest in Aberdeenshire (0.9%) and Shetland (1%). Highland saw a 28.5% decrease in the number of claimants over the previous 12 months. All Local Authorities showed a decrease over this time with largest in Shetland (-36%).

Local Authority Claimants % of working age population claiming JSA % change in claims over last 12 months
Aberdeen City 2,428 1.6 -22.5
Aberdeenshire 1,472 0.9 -28.8
Angus 1,596 2.3 -28.5
Argyll & Bute 1,546 3.1 -22.9
Clackmannanshire 1,486 4.6 -17.9
Dumfries & Galloway 2,746 3.1 -23.3
Dundee City 4,654 4.9 -18.8
East Ayrshire 3,980 5.2 -16.1
East Dunbartonshire 1,175 1.9 -30.5
East Lothian 1,700 2.8 -21.7
East Renfrewshire 956 1.8 -32.0
Edinburgh, City of 9,257 2.8 -20.3
Eilean Siar 481 3.0 -7.3
Falkirk 3,873 3.9 -16.0
Fife 8,795 3.9 -19.9
Glasgow City 18,936 4.7 -22.4
Highland 3,223 2.3 -28.5
Inverclyde 2,121 4.2 -26.7
Midlothian 1,683 3.3 -25.5
Moray 1,099 2.0 -24.5
North Ayrshire 4,821 5.8 -18.9
North Lanarkshire 9,548 4.5 -20.2
Orkney Islands 156 1.2 -18.3
Perthshire & Kinross 1,811 2.1 -17.8
Renfrewshire 4,558 4.2 -19.8
Scottish Borders 1,869 2.8 -18.1
Shetland Islands 122 0.9 -42.2
South Ayrshire 2,644 4.0 -19.4
South Lanarkshire 7,377 3.8 -21.5
Stirling 1,560 2.8 -19.0
West Dunbartonshire 3,145 5.5 -19.0
West Lothian 3,591 3.2 -29.8
Scotland 114,409 3.4 -21.6
Great Britain 1,184,157 3.1 -23.5
Source: Department for Work and Pensions data from NOMIS